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You probably know that we’re pretty serious about building the best translation workflow possible for sites that use page builders. In this release, we have significant improvements for almost all page builders and introducing support for another popular builder.

Never lose existing translation when editing translated pages

When you updated the original, built with shortcode-based page builders, you could lose the translations for modified cells.

Want to know why?

<TL;DR>
WPML uses the String Translation table to store texts that require translation in page builders. Until now, we could only find these texts by their values, because all page builders don’t have unique IDs for cells (yes, that’s how it is). So, if you changed a cell, WPML could not find the previous translation for it. Even if it was a tiny edit, you’d still need to retranslate that cell from scratch.
</TL;DR>

We decided that this is not 「something little that people can live with」. We wouldn’t want to have it on our own sites. So, we did a major update to the String Translation table and to the Page Builders translation logic. Now, we match texts for cells according to value, position and assignment.

In plain English, this means that the only way to lose existing translations now is if you would:

  1. Change the content of multiple cells
  2. And, also change the position of multiple cells

Then, WPML is going to have a hard time connecting between cells and their translations. When you need to do massive edits on existing pages (created with page builders), all you need to do is save frequently. First, move things around and then save. Then, change cell content and save again. Or, edit and save and then move and save. Doesn’t matter. This way, WPML keeps track of the translations of cells and you’re not losing your existing translations.

Try it!

Translation for links in buttons

All page builders have elements intended to link to other pages. The most popular ones are buttons, but there are plenty of other elements that accept URLs.

Now, when you translate pages with such links, WPML will automatically update the links to go to translated content. WPML already does that for links in text cells. From now on, we’re also covering links in 「speciality」 cells.

Copy-once mode for custom fields (very noticeable with Avada theme)

We’ve added a new mode for translating custom fields called Copy once. This mode means that WPML will copy the value of custom fields from the original to translations only once, when you translate initially.

Why would anyone need something like this?

Consider a theme like Avada. Avada uses custom fields to store per-page settings. For example, it stores settings for the styling of the page heading.

With this new mode, you can translate pages with Avada and all the settings are automatically applied to the translated content. Then, you can edit the translations and modify the appearance of the title per language. Until now, you have to choose between locking these fields between all translations and having to see these fields in the translation editor. The new mode allows you to automatically sync once and then have the freedom to update separately.

Right now, we applied it to the configuration of Avada theme only. We’re updating the configurations of other themes to take advantage of this new mode. If you’re using a theme that would also benefit from it, let us know (in the comments) and we’ll work with the theme author to apply a similar update for that theme too.

Support for Elementor

Elementor is a great (relatively) new page builder. We’ve worked together with Elementor team to add support for WPML. To enjoy this new support, you’ll need to install the WPML Page Builders plugin, which is available from the Downloads section of your account.

Download, try and let us know

This is still a beta release. We’re starting full QA on Monday. In this release, we’re trying to streamline everything related to page builders. It would be great if you can try this beta on your development sites. Check it with different themes and different builders. Let us know if you’re seeing any glitches in the translation workflow. We’ve tested this with around 7 builders. You can help us by testing with your favorite ones.

To get this update, log-in to your WPML account and click on Downloads. Change the selector at the top of the page to Beta. We updated the downloads page, so you’ll see this:

Beta downloads on wpml.org

If you’re not seeing the beta downloads, do a full refresh (CTRL-F5). You need to install:

  • WPML 3.7.0 beta
  • WPML String Translation 3.5.3 beta
  • WPML Translation Management 2.3.0 beta
  • WPML Page Builders beta 1.1.0 – only if you want to test with Elementor

Coming soon

We’re working on another goody for page builders. A lot of pages include images and some of these images actually contain text. Sometimes, you’ll need to provide different images for different languages. For example, our own documentation includes screenshots of the WordPress admin. It would be great for Spanish documentation to include screenshots with Spanish GUI.

Right now, this requires a manual process so almost nobody does it. It’s a lot of hassle to keep track of which images appear on different pages and replace them manually.

We’re working on a major update to the Media Translation plugin, which will allow you to review the different images in the site and set 「translations」 for them. Then, it doesn’t matter where these images appear, WPML will replace them with their translation. This is a big project and we’re only at its beginning. We’ll try to have it in WPML 3.8.

We’re also working on the Translation Feedback module, which we previewed a few weeks ago.